Africa will feed the world. With the technology on display at IPACK-IMA
In 2020 Africa will feed Europe. It’s a possibility as well as an objective. It can be achieved, provided politics and technology share this as a common purpose. Processing and packaging play a key role in this project.
The conference "Enhancing Food Safety and Food Security in Africa", in progress this morning in Fiera Milano’s Martini room during IPACK-IMA, launches a message that goes beyond the scope of business and the exhibition itself.
UN agencies supporting the event have no doubt about which resource will be the most sought-after by the entire world population over the next decades: food. Thanks to its far-sightedness, IPACK-IMA brought up a fundamental side of the problem concerning raw material processing technology and methods as well as food preservation. In Africa over 60% of foodstuffs is lost due to the lack of adequate packaging and preservation techniques.
"Africa can feed the world. Italy can give fundamental contribution through its technology. I believe in this". Thus Côte d'Ivoire national Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO explained in no uncertain words the different future scenarios faced by mankind: if Africa continues to be exploited as a mere reservoir of raw materials, of which it owns 90% of the world’s total, we must prepare for a massive, overwhelming migration of young people deprived of work and food. If, on the other hand, we start a virtuous circle of assistance, cooperation and creation of local added value based on food and agricultural production, this will not only benefit Europe and Africa but the entire world. One of the crucial issues is the deterioration of foodstuffs due to the lack of adequate practices and technology supporting food production and processing. Yumkella also explained that “Western countries are faced with three great emergencies: an increasingly challenging energy supply situation, rising pollution levels and growing prices of agricultural raw materials. All these issues – says UNIDO Secretary General – can be addressed through the cooperation with producer countries, chiefly aimed at reducing waste through technology.”
Africa is leader in the production of dozens of food products, has 60% of the world’s unfarmed land and has been least affected by soil pollution. These three conditions make it the world region holding the highest agricultural development potential over the next years. Africa can provide food and bioenergy for the entire planet.
This positive perspective is shared by Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Council gathering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi: “This is potentially a win-win situation, which overturns the idea behind free grants and replaces them with business opportunities for everyone”. For example, the EU’s incentives to specific kinds of crops such as sugar cane can prove useless or even harmful; however, if these crops were grown in Africa they could prove to be an advantage for everyone.